Littleport man travels to battlefields to pay tribute to four great uncles killed in the Great War

Ian McGee at the grave of his great uncle Thomas Parker McGee, who died in the First World War.

Ian McGee at the grave of his great uncle Thomas Parker McGee, who died in the First World War. - Credit: Archant

A Littleport man travelled to Belgium and France to remember four of his relatives who were killed in the First World War.

Ian McGee, 60, visited memorials and cemeteries in Thiepval, Bancourt and Contay, in France, and Adinkerke, in Belgium, to visit the graves of his great uncles Bert, Thomas, Edward and James Parker McGee.

The four brothers hailed from Stuntney and were survived by their brother William McGee, Ian’s grandfather.

Thomas, of the Cambridgeshire Regiment, and Bert and James, of the Suffolks, were all killed in action on October 12, 1916, while Edward, of the Northumberland Fusiliers, died of wounds sustained in battle a year later, in August, 1917.

Mr McGee, who was joined on the trip by his daughter, Jenny, decided to travel to the battlefields to pay his respects this year because of the 100th anniversary commemoration to mark the outbreak of the conflict.

The sad story of his family’s loss only came to light by chance, when a colleague of Mr McGee’s was about to throw out a collection of old coins and documents some 30 years ago when he stepped in and spared them from the rubbish heap.

Entirely unbeknownst to him - on a small piece of paper folded up with the coins - was a list of all the men from the village of Stuntney who had been killed fighting in the war, including four of his great uncles.

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Mr McGee’s father - Bertie McGee – was a member of the Black Watch and his uncle - Bill Mufitt - was a paratrooper and both would later serve in the Second World War.